In so many situations, the line between watchers and doers is prohibitive. The Olympics? Yeah, right. Chainsaw sculpting? I’m good, thanks.
But when it comes to live music, the line is a little blurrier. People like Rand Burgess, owner of The Camel, understand that the health of a city’s music scene is dependent both on bands and the people who come out to see and interact with them.
Burgess has just given everyone involved a reason to rejoice.
The Broadberry, a new concert venue with room for 350 attendees, officially opened at 2729 W. Broad Street this spring with hometown favorites Goldrush, Black Girls, and No BS! Brass Band christening its stage at the debut show. Shortly after the Broadberry’s successful first weekend, I sat down to talk with Burgess and events manager, Lucas Fritz, about the exciting new space they’ve created with partner Matt McDonald of Joe’s Inn.
Is there anything you’ve learned since opening The Broadberry?
Burgess: Absolutely! I quickly realized that I needed to learn how to book bands for my venue, how I need to follow the trends and popular genres in the industry, how theme nights can be used to make more money, and a lot more! Plus, I learned the potential of the Richmond music scene is pretty great. We had sold-out shows for local bands. The power of that speaks volumes.
What would be a dream artist you’d like to see at The Broadberry?
Fritz: I’m working to get Keller Williams down here. I’ve met him before, and he lives 50 miles north of here. I think it would be great.
Burgess: Keller Williams, Larry Keel-those are two I think would be awesome here. It’s a mid-sized venue, but it can feel intimate as well with a larger act.
Are there any partnerships you have planned?
Burgess: Being a good tenant and a good neighbor is extremely important. I think the most important partnership we can have is with the neighborhood.
Can you reveal any details about the food?
Burgess: One of the coolest things about Richmond’s food scene is food trucks. We’re taking street fare-Thai beef skewers, grilled chicken teriyaki, candied bacon, things you’d normally find at a food truck-and we’re serving it in Chinese to-go containers. Not only can you eat it here, it’s already ready for you to take with you. I think that’s one thing that will set us apart from the other venues.
Do you see The Camel moving in a more local direction?
Burgess: No, the opposite. The Camel is still going to be a home for locals, but any of the bands that are selling out The Camel can move here, and it opens up the possibility to build even more bands up. That’s the progression.
What has The Camel meant to you?
Burgess: I love The Camel. It’s my dream bar. Painters paint; musicians make music. They might call it a masterpiece-The Camel is mine.
Fritz: I like being a part of building things up. In order to get something built up the way that No BS! has or Black Girls have, you have to have branding and marketing and consistency in what you’re presenting. Being a part of helping bands curate that is pretty cool.
What do you think is the next step for Richmond music?
Burgess: Notoriety-people visiting Richmond to see music. It’s not just about the Civil War anymore. People can come here and check out our awesome breweries, our awesome music scene, the shops in Carytown. To expand on that, people moving back here from the suburbs, sticking around after they graduate VCU or UofR or Virginia Union and buying houses. Getting people to reinvest in downtown, move downtown, and take pride in the city. I think that’s the next step for Richmond.